Seek Ye First the Kingdom
Charles F. House
San Luis, Arizona, U.S.A.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 ... "seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness..."
At the close of the morning service, after the preacher has finished his sermon, after the invitation hymn has been sung, what are your innermost thoughts when someone comes forward to be baptized into the Lord's body for the remission of his past sins? Have you been guilty of any of the following thoughts? The ball game starts at such and such a time and I want to get there on time. I planned to see my favorite television program that comes on immediately after the services, and I must hurry home as fast as I can so as not to miss it. Or what about this, if you are a woman: "I planned a fine meal for my family today and it is still cooking on the stove. I must hurry home and attend to it."
It is only natural that those whose lives are close to the ones obeying the call of the Gospel and those who may have been diligently teaching him, will undoubtedly be thanking God and asking His help toward the new soul remaining faithful, and asking that others will follow in obedience to the Divine Command. Shouldn't this be the attitude of each one present? Within Mexico in my work among the simple Mexican people, I find this to be true. Frequently, my car is the only one available, so I make several trips to the river in order that everyone can be present. Nearby bushes provide the equivalent of dressing rooms.
On our trip into Michoacan, Mexico below the tropic of Cancer, in February, Fidel Cisneros, Gospel preacher, and I held Gospel Meetings in the general area where his family lives. When we returned, his parents and two cousins returned with us and have been visiting in the home of Brother Fidel, attending services and being taught privately. As a result of much study, Fidel's mother and one of the cousins desired baptism, after one of the classes that I have been teaching twice daily. We made the necessary trips across town to the river and two more souls were added to the Lord's body and a new church will be established when they return to their home. Later on, part of the family left by bus back into the interior. Among her most cherished possessions, the mother was carrying a hymn book in her apron which she would be wearing on the bus. It was especially important to note that even though she was unable to read, she was going to some how ...some way...learn to sing hymns of praise to her blessed Lord.
Among the churches in Mexico, it is the custom that when any member is to take a trip, be it 40 miles or 400, the church has a song and prayer service for their safe journey. One can not realize how close it brings one to another, and how much weight it brings to bear upon one's individual need of others, until he has experienced it. How many of us reading these words gather our families together for prayer before going on extended vacations? Better yet . . . how many of us have learned to depend upon one another in the church to the extent that when vacation time draws near, to ask the elders to assemble the church together for the express purpose of offering prayer to the Most High? Had you and I ever considered that perhaps this would go a long way to strengthen those who fail to plan where they are to worship when they are gone, or to encourage those to give into the Lord's treasury beforehand, rather than spending the Lord's money on the trip? How can we as members of the Lord's body conscientiously ask the prayers of the rest of the body (the church), then DELIBERATELY forget our duties as members of that same body, while we are gone?
It is entirely possible that our worship becomes so formal, like Catholicism and Denominationalism, that we are actually afraid of being thought "corny" if we let human emotions enter. With our lips we proudly say we are a family... yea... THE family of God, with Christ our elder brother, but our actions deny our words. Have we forgotten how to cry? I believe we have. Christ displayed all the human emotions, because the Holy Scripture says that "Jesus Wept." Why should we as members of His body be embarrassed to do less than Christ did? Lets all learn to love one another. Lets all learn concern one for the other. Lets learn how to pray for one another.
Truth Magazine VII: 11, pp. 22